I once conducted a wedding ceremony on Friday the 13th. Obviously the loving couple was not superstitious about the day.
The fear of Friday the 13th is called paraskevidekatriaphobia. This word is derived from three Greek words meaning Friday, thirteen and fear. It is supposed that this day is unlucky and that there is a strong propensity for bad things to happen on it. Some people are so affected by paraskevidekatriaphobia that they avoid business transactions, traveling and may even shirk normal everyday activities on Friday the 13th. The next Friday the 13th, by the way, will occur on February 2015.
Theories abound as to the origin of this superstition. One speculation incorporates two ancient superstitions; 13 is an unlucky number and Friday is an unlucky day. Put the two together and you have Friday the 13th.
Another superstition claims that having 13 people seated at a table (i.e. the Last Supper) will result in the death of one of those at the table. This superstition adds that Jesus was crucified on Friday. Incidentally, Jesus wasn’t crucified on Friday, but even if He was, the Lamb of God offering His life for mankind is anything but bad luck.
A third theory alludes to the arrest of the Knights Templar. King Philip IV of France secretly ordered their arrest on Friday, October 13, 1307.
Another more fantastical view involves Frigga, the Norse goddess of love and fertility, whose name means Friday. When Christianity came to her country, she was denounced as a witch. She later assembled meetings with 11 other witches and the devil (adding up to 13) on Fridays to plot revenge against Christianity. Most Canadians are thankful for the arrival of Friday, but in ancient Scandinavia Friday was referred to as “Witches Sabbath”.
Authors, musicians and Hollywood movie producers have capitalized on Friday the 13th phobia. Black Sabbath’s debut album was released on Friday the 13th, October 1970. Four of the 12 Friday the 13th movies were released on Friday the 13th as was at least one of the Harry Potter movies.
The phobia surrounding Friday the 13th has no place in the life of a Christian. The “fear nots” found in Scripture are applicable to 365 days of the year. In fact, some have mistakenly said that the phrase “fear not” is used 365 times in the Bible. (Actually it appears 82 or 83 times).
Christians should avoid any superstition about Friday the 13th (and superstition in general for that matter). It is simply an uninformed, irrational false notion rooted in fear. Anything, good or bad, can happen on any day or any date.
Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness…(1 Timothy 4:7).
FAITH & REFLECTION